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Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation Paperback – November 10, 2015
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“Every day of our lives, our mind diverts into private thoughts—wishful dreams of our future, regrets and ruminations over what went wrong yesterday, nervous anticipation about tomorrow. Gabriele Oettingen’s book is the single best guide to the power and consequence of these private thoughts. It will teach you nothing less than how to think better.”
—PO BRONSON, coauthor of Nurtureshock and Top Dog
“How do you get from dreaming to doing? This exciting and important book shows you how to turn your dreams into reality. You'll be surprised at how thoroughly it overturns conventional wisdom.”
—CAROL S. DWECK, Lewis & Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology, Stanford University, and author of Mindset
“Gabriele Oettingen presents a well-written thought-provoking evidence-based self-help book. Hers is an intriguing approach to overcoming life challenges at all ages. It is a worthy read.”
—JAMES JOSEPH HECKMAN, Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago, Winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics
“I was once asked by educators to identify the single most effective intervention for improving self-control. Every scientist I spoke to referred me to the work summarized here—masterfully and with incomparable insight and warmth. Read this brilliant book and then go out and do what Gabriele Oettingen recommends. It will change the way you think about making your dreams come true.”
—ANGELA DUCKWORTH, Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, and 2013 MacArthur Fellow
“Want to quit smoking, lose weight, get better grades, sustain healthier relationships, or negotiate effectively? Then this easy-to-read book, based on twenty-plus years of empirical research, is for you. Setting a goal, visualizing the obstacles, and then charting a path sounds so straightforward—but guess what? It works!”
—GARY LATHAM, Secretary of State Professor of Organizational Effectiveness at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto
“Gabriele Oettingen, one of the world’s leading experts on the psychology of motivation, presents a forceful, scientifically based challenge to the ‘power of positive thinking.’ This eminently practical book is a much needed and welcome corrective.”
—LAURENCE STEINBERG, Distinguished Professor of Psychology, Temple University, and author of Age of Opportunity: Lessons from the New Science of Adolescence
“Gabriele Oettingen approaches the subject of positive thinking with a scientist’s passionate curiosity. She is open to anything she might find and truly seeks to discover what works—and what doesn’t. What she found will surprise you, as it did me, and will make you eager to try her methods.”
—FLORIAN HENCKEL VON DONNERSMARCK, writer, director (The Lives of Others; The Tourist), and winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film
About the Author
Gabriele Oettingen is a professor of psychology at New York University and the University of Hamburg and the author of more than a hundred articles and book chapters on the effects of future thought on cognition, emotion, and behavior. She lives in New York City and in Hamburg, Germany.
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Top Customer Reviews
So why not spare you the credentials I may possess to review this book? Why not forego all the background information that would lend credence to this review? The people who will find this book useful would probably read it anyway, those close-minded individuals most likely won't even make this far to order in the first place.
"Rethinking Positive Thinking" is probably one of the best self-improvement tools to come about thus far. It's unfortunate that it has to compete with so much non-evidenced based material. And there are some who are trying to confirm this and initially believe that around 80% of all self-help books are not tethered to any evidence and as much as 95% of internet based self-help have no evidence whatsoever to back it up. But then, that's trying provide "credence" for this book isn't it?
I could probably bypass the first two-thirds of the book which is support for WOOP, but I'm glad I didn't. For me, it helps to create a knowledge base to draw on once I started using the WOOP method. It solidifies how to use it for the most part by giving examples of what worked and what did not. The last third of the book is the how-to, fortifying the WOOP method and emphasizing not to rearrange the order of doing "wish/outcome/obstacle/plan" (WOOP).
Here's my thought - Most people have wasted a LOT of time on trying to find out more about themselves and their place in life. Only to realize a year later, a decade later. . . a lifetime later, that they either dropped the method or it simply fizzled out. WOOP is the real deal. Always allowing you to re-tweak your ideas (wishes/dreams) and then go at it again. I have followed a lot of stuff and this is the first one that I'v used and have had immediate and successful results. And that's about all you have to know.
Her research is solid, and extensive. In a very respectful, yet thorough, manner she has tested the reigning concept of optimism and find it is coming short of its promise. Yes, people need it, and for some it gives them reason to continue under dire circumstances, however people stay the same, because "dreamers are not often doers." This highlights the one missing component in optimism: the doing part energised by optimism. In the same way her exploration of positive fantasies is excellent: when do we do them "successfully" and what is needed to go from dreaming to action.
She offers practical, sometimes totally counterintuitive, options for being practical and achieving goals from our daydreams. The last sentence in her introduction: "all from a single, counterintuitive question: What holds you back from realizing your dreams?" is the challenge she set herself, and us the reader.
The method, called "mental contrasting" is offered clearly and reliably. She has researched this in multiple contexts, so it is not just another "name" not validated by good research. Mental contrasting is the element that completes the formula: optimism-action-results, or realizing the focus of your optimism. Of course, there is her simple and powerful acronym W-O-O-P that makes it just so easy to remember the core of the method, and in itself is a formula for success.
A good work, that reads comfortably even though there are solid research and plenty of references for the person hungry for the back-story. The references are placed outside of the scope of the main reading, but of course easily accessible through the electronic link of the kindle version.
I plan to use the ideas of Dr. Oettingen not just as a coaching tool for my one-on-one work, but also for group work when I facilitate strategy or optimizing team-functioning.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book devoted the first 2/3 or so to explaining in plain English the authors scientific body of work...Read more